Catawba Ridge’s Andre Hodge crosses the finish line in first place to win the 200-meter state championship.

COLUMBIA – It was a one-two battle between Greenville and Catawba Ridge and then a lengthy weather delay came in the 4A state track meet at Spring Valley High Saturday, derailing the Copperheads momentum.  

Greenville had a 68-38 lead before the delay, but Catawba Ridge boys had two big events coming up in the 3,200-meters and the 4×400 relay that could have pulled them within 10 points before the weather delay came. The nearly four and half-hour delay saw wind, torrential rain, thunder and lightning forcing all the teams to take shelter.

After the delay, Catawba Ridge wasn’t able to regain their momentum and dropped from second to third place overall. Catawba Ridge finished with 50 points behind Dreher, which ended up with 52 points. Greenville scored 94 points to take the 4A boy’s title.

Catawba Ridge head coach David Helms said a third-place finish is still good for a school that is really in its second year after COVID cancelled the season three years ago. Last year, Catawba Ridge boys finished fourth. The Copperheads came into the meet with a good chance to win, but knew it would be Greenville that gave them their biggest challenge.

“We brought a lot of people here,” Helms said. “We brought 15 boys and 10 girls and had people in 12 of 18 events. Greenville had the right guys in the right spots.”

One thing that hurt was not having distance runner Sam Rich who was out of the meet with a hamstring injury. Even if Rich had run the two long distance events and won, Catawba Ridge would have still come up short based on a strong Greenville performance.

Normally known for their long-distance running, Catawba Ridge used their speed to bolster their performance at Harry Parone Stadium. The Copperheads were led by two state championships performances from sprinter Andre Hodge in winning the 100 and 200-meters.

Hodge put the team on his back along with several top eight finishes for the rest of the Copperheads boys’ team. In the 100-meter, Hodge won with a time of 10.40 and then followed that up about an hour later with a 200-meter win in a time of 21.20. 

In the 4×100, Catawba Ridge finished fourth to help move up the standings and then seventh in the 4×800. The big race of the 4×400 where they came in as the top seed was the last track event of the evening and the Copperheads finished second in the race to Westwood in a time of 3:23.04. The event took place after the lengthy delay.

In the field events, Josh Ehresman finished third in the shot put with a throw of 51 feet, 9.5 inches and eighth in the discus with a throw of 142 feet, 6 inches.  Thomas Maxwell was fifth in the shot put with a throw of 47 feet, 6.5 inches and then sixth in the discus with a throw of 145 feet, 4 inches.

In the girls’ meet, the Copperheads finished sixth with 36.5 points as Greenville wrapped up that title as well with 102 points.

In the girl’s discus, Olivia Dubrow finished second for Catawba Ridge with a throw of 123 feet, 3 inches. She also finished second in the shot put with a throw of 37 feet, 2 inches. She was the highest finisher for the Copperhead girls’ team.

Avery Shope finished fifth in the 800-meters in 2:24.16 as the highest individual finisher for the Copperheads in the track events. The Catawba Ridge 4×800 girls team finished fourth in their race at 9:50. 

Tatum Postel competed in two field events and was sixth in the high jump clearing 4 feet, 10 inches and eighth in the pole vault clearing 9 feet. Jolie Nguyen finished fourth in the pole vault clearing 10 feet and Sydney Pierce was sixth clearing 9 feet, 6 inches. 

In the 5A meet Friday night in Columbia also at Spring Valley, Fort Mill had two state champions and Nation Ford had one. 

Fort Mill’s Jackson Dawson won the 1,600-meters in 4:16.74 and Alivia Cleveland won the 3,200-meters in 11:03.65 right at the line. The Falcons’ Sierra Smith won the 100-meters in 11.90.

Fort Mill finished 12th overall for the boys and 13th overall for the girls. The Nation Ford girls finished fourth and the boys finished 18th.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

The Copperheads’ Olivia Dubrow throws the shot put during the 4A state track and field championship meet Saturday at Spring Valley.